Western United and Sydney FC couldn’t be separated at a rain-soaked Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, with a goal each in the second half resulting in a 1-1 draw.
Western United Head Coach John Aloisi made one change from the side that beat Western Sydney Wanderers last week, with Tomoki Imai returning to the back four in place of Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
Rene Krhin was once again named on the bench after debuting against the Wanderers, while Steven Lustica continued his run of starting every match so far this season.
Alessandro Diamanti had the first sight of goal in the first few minutes, with a strong effort from distance comfortably saved by Tom Heward-Belle.
Sydney began to settle in possession and Imai was needed to block a shot from Elvis Kamsoba that appeared destined for the bottom left corner.
United then started to set up camp in Sydney’s half but couldn’t turn territory into big chances on goal, with a number of balls into the box just failing to pay dividends.
The hosts maintained great quality on the break, though, and had two opportunities almost consecutively to take the lead.
Adam Le Fondre dispossessed Leo Lacroix high up the pitch for the Sky Blues but Neil Kilkenny pulled off a superb block to deny Max Burgess from his cutback, before Milos Ninkovic had an effort expertly tipped onto the post by Jamie Young.
That proved to be the pick of the chances for either side in the first period as the game headed for the interval with the deadlock yet to be broken.
United created a great opening early in the second half with Lachie Wales getting in behind down the right-hand side, but he couldn’t keep his cross far enough away from the goalkeeper.
A period of end-to-end play between both sides created the opener, and it was a brilliant one at that for Western United.
Aleksandar Prijovic showed outstanding work rate to get back and win the ball in the back left corner before launching a stunning counter attack down the left wing with Connor Pain.
After the pair had made their way back to the opposite side of the pitch, the ball broke for Lustica to thump home an excellent side-footed finish from outside the box.
Prijovic and Pain were involved again shortly after, but the latter just couldn’t get on the end of the former’s headed pass in the box.
United’s lead didn’t last for too long, though, as Burgess drew the hosts level just in the 65th minute with a tidy finish from close range.
Dylan Pierias came off the bench to inject some pace into the United attack and he helped win a corner that so nearly put United back in front. Josh Risdon was the unlikely riser in the box, but his header was well-saved by Heward-Belle.
Ninkovic had a big chance with five minutes to go as Young was on hand for his second big stop of the night, pawing away the Serbian’s curling effort.
There was late drama as United thought it had a penalty in added time to win the match, but a VAR review dismissed the initial call for handball on Rhyan Grant.
That allowed the hosts one last thrust forwards, but both sides would have to settle for a point in an entertaining 1-1 draw.